“What Can We Expect in the Future?” A Chorus in Five Parts
But this you must remember: Hades & Dionysus are one.
George Seferis, “Memory II”
As if taking an Apollonian turn, start as many days as possible listening to
Bach, as is the case right here with Casals on Cello Suite #5 in C Minor, which
chords remind one life’s to live now, death’s shadow looming in undertone
& resonance. A week in old age may be worth a month or two in youth.
Earlier, on walks in pure clarity, an ecstatic state of grand animism, seven
crows marked the sky diagonally, flying east. Sign of good omen. Or, alone
in the snow-filled amphitheater the chorus of ancients assembled together out
of the stonework. Listened, again: similar message to that of C Minor.
Wasn’t always Apollo. On the same path, in deep reverie found myself
climbing subway stairs of the Red Line in Harvard Square only to emerge to
sounds of electric violin blasting from Cambridge Common. Pleasantly high,
Dionysus my partner in crimes of wine & weed, we followed the path toward
the music. Unbeknownst to us, a free concert featured the San Franciscan
band, It’s a Beautiful Day. Rounding the corner of Mass Ave., just behind
huge black speakers came the longest version of White Bird ever performed
east of the Mississippi, next to the Charles. We must have flown home, I don’t
Dreams last night sufficed to round out diurnal/nocturnal existence.
Night/morning filled with dreams, some recollected: staring at the sea, decide
to dive in in the shallows where fish are visible enough to touch, stroking the
tail of one, continuing underwater toward deeper reaches & surface where
waves surge. Turn on back, face sun & sky. Suddenly, water skiers & jet
skiers add to the disturbance & turbulence to the extent that I wave arms high
in the air so they don’t run me over. Ride waves further out until surf turns to
snow & I land on land in snowdrifts. Trying to get my bearings, as dreamers
do, the terrain shifts to the working waterfront where longshoremen mingle.
Seems like the past. I ask them, “What year is this? Is this 1952?” One of the
men answers, but I say I can’t hear him, so I ask again, “Is it 1952?” The
same guy mimes, & nods, “Fifty-two.” I hold up two fingers just to make
sure, as does he, mouthing “Two.” Tell them I was six-years-old back then, &
that my grandmother took me to a Red Sox game, & two years later, in 1954,
took me to New York City.
Suddenly, a large B-52 appears in the sky above us leaving an exhaust trail of
smoke behind it. The men look at me, a bit worried like an ancient Greek
chorus. They ask in unison, “What can we expect in the future?” Just as
suddenly as the B-52, just as suddenly as water skiers in the first part of the
dream, images, or image thoughts of Korea of the Civil Rights Movement of
Vietnam of Bush Iraq Afghanistan appear before me & the men in front of
the warehouse. But I can’t mention these events, for they have to live their
own lives, which will entail more than wars & struggle. Did not want to be
the bearer of bad news. Am no prophet. The scene shifts. I’m talking to a
man about some job I had, complaining about ill-treatment by one of the
supervisors of a library, whose false voice haunted my dreams for years
afterward. Then the librarian who took her place appears saying, “You will
find your tea at the end of your search,” alluding to Proust, turning Memory